STELLAR which is the acronym of Stem cell based therapy for kidney repair is a research consortium funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme THEME HEALTH.2012.1.4-3: “Innovative Strategies for translation of stem cell based therapies in regenerative medicine”. [European Union-Australia Cooperation] For more information on the 7th framework please visit the CORDIS website
Socio-economic impact of STELLAR
The Socio-Economic impact of STELLAR is quite substantial. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 8% of the European population and ultimately results in renal failure due
to progressive fibrosis. CDK carries a high mortality risk and the number of affected people rises, increasing the demand on renal replacement therapies while the number of available donor organs stays stable.
The STELLAR consortium proposes to develop an alternative to renal replacement therapy, based on the repair capacity of newly discovered kidney mesenchymal stromal cells (kMSCs). By injecting kMSC into affected kidneys, we expect to stop kidney fibrosis and induce tissue repair, ultimately leading to the restoration of normal kidney function.
The main objectives of the STELLAR consortium are:
- develop protocols for up scalable, high quality isolation of kMSCs and precisely characterize kMSC function in comparison to other MSCs.
- test kMSCs in several murine renal disease models, to study their effects on fibrosis and tissue repair.
- discover mechanisms of kidney repair.
- invest in developing the technology necessary for up scaled isolation and quality control.
The STELLAR consortium combines Australian experts on kMSC isolation and characterisation with European experts on renal failure and compounds the state-of-the-art knowledge, facilities and experience needed to develop and validate this novel form of renal therapy. The inclusion of experienced SMEs, with great technical and scientific know-how about assay and protocol development, further strengthens the consortium and will ensure not only the inclusion of new technology, but also a quick translation from bench to clinical application.
In conclusion, the STELLAR consortium is capable of developing and pre clinical validation of this new cellular therapy for CDK, based on a new understanding of stromal cells and fibroblast function, while also providing the technology required for rapid, large scale application of the therapy after clinical validation.